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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

March 21, 2006
The wrong Democracy

That's what Washington is always telling us they have in Venezuela. Chavez has been a reliable and constant whipping boy for DC for quite some time now.

Beyond the fact that he's not a fan of ours and he's prone to anti-USofA rhetoric (usually with good cause), I've never really understood this.

From a Latin American point of view, Venezuelans should have the right to choose their own president even one who sometimes insults the American president without interference from the United States.

Makes sense to me.

First, Venezuela is a democracy despite the best efforts of the Bush team to use President Hugo Chavez's close relations with Cuba's Fidel Castro as evidence to the contrary. Its elections are transparent and have been certified by observers from the Organization of American States, the Carter Center and the European Union. Freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of association prevail, at least as compared with the rest of the hemisphere.

Okay, so it's a decent, even a superior government, compared to those in that part of the world, and we're still bitter and disgruntled? Those are some high standards we're setting.

Like all of Latin America, Venezuela has governance problems: a weak state, limited rule of law, corruption and incompetent government.

That's okay. there's a lot of that going around.

But no reputable human rights organization has alleged that Venezuela under Chavez has deteriorated with regard to civil liberties, human rights or democracy, as compared with prior governments.

Not so much of that going around.

Okay. Maybe it's that it's the wrong kind of democracy because we didn't install it and we don't control it?

So, why aren't we installing our own democracy? That's what we do now, right?

And Chavez's anger at Washington, from Latin Americans' point of view, appears justified. U.S. government documents released under our Freedom of Information Act indicate that Washington not only supported but was involved in the military coup that temporarily overthrew Venezuela's elected government in April 2002. Here in Washington, there is a "Monty Python" attitude toward the coup: "Let's not argue about who killed who." But in Latin America, a military coup against a democratically elected government is still considered a serious crime. To top it off, Washington continued to finance efforts to recall Chavez and, having failed miserably, still regularly presents him as a threat to democracy in the region.

I see.

It's an interesting article.

Posted by AnneZook at 06:41 PM


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